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The Neuroscience 

Peak Portal is accessed through the use of plant medicine, otherwise known as psychedelics.

Psychedelics can be extremely beneficial for individual wellbeing when the left hemisphere and the high level of activity within the default mode network (DMN) have obliterated the life of the right hemisphere. This results in a similar experience of the person with right hemisphere damage: absence of vitality mechanical behaviour, disassociation and cut off from feelings. 

Abnormal functioning of the DMN could predispose individuals to mental illness  such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit, and post-traumatic stress disorders. This parallel’s McGilchrist’s description of the left hemisphere’s domination over the right hemisphere, and the resulting constant and relentless negative and ruminating thoughts.  

Plant medicine offers a right hemispheric 'reset', a complete closing of the left hemisphere, including the default mode network, and a complete restoration of the right hemispheric function which imbues  creativity, imagination, reason, emotion and curiosity. 

Dr. Harold W. Gordon - U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse

In a paper from 2016: Laterality of Brain Activation for Risk Factors of Addiction, Gordon states: 

Most activation peaks for cue-stimulated craving across all substances favoured the left hemisphere. This observation is consistent with the left/right hemisphere dichotomy whereby the left hemisphere is associated with “approach” or “appetitive” behaviour. The concept is that craving is a “wanting” of (previously experienced) pleasure from a particular drug and the cues induce a desire to obtain the drug to recreate the experience. Because not all those who experience pleasure will progress to heavy use or dependence, the question is whether those who do not progress have less left hemisphere activation for craving or stronger impulse control in the right hemisphere, or both […] Evidence supports the notion that weakened activation in these right hemisphere areas increases risk for drug abuse. 

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Blue arrows - lateralized left 

Red arrows - lateralized right

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Michael Pollan -   professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

From his website

What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists.

Placebo                         Psychedelics

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Robin Carhart-Harris - Neuroscientist, Imperial College, London (website)


Carhart-Harris' paper: The Entropic Brain: A Theory of Conscious States Informed by Neuroimaging, argues that scientific research with psilocybin has the potential to develop certain aspects of psychoanalytic theory and could assist in the study of human consciousness. Carhart-Harris introduces the concept of a ‘primary’ state of consciousness within humans. This state exhibits a primal level of functioning of the brain, which came before the development of the ‘secondary’ state – the normal, everyday, awake level of consciousness.  Carhart-Harris also puts forward the neurodynamical concept of ‘entropy’ in relation to these states of consciousness, and describes entropy as synonymous with uncertainty and high disorder. Based on their neuroimaging data in conjunction with the use of psilocybin, the primary state is defined by ‘elevated entropy’ (high uncertainty and disorder). 


Carhart-Harris also states that the psychedelic experience is connected to the primary state, which appears to be most prolific in the right hemisphere. This is demonstrated in the paper, which reproduces an image of a brain scan illustrating activity within the right hippocampus, and notes that increased variance was especially marked in the right hemispheric region post-psilocybin.                                                  

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